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6 Windstar Alaska Cruise Reviews

This was our second Windstar cruise following last summer’s Norway/Iceland voyage which was marvelous. Sufficiently marvelous that we invited three friends from NYC to join us this time. We previously sailed once on Regent which was but ... Read More
This was our second Windstar cruise following last summer’s Norway/Iceland voyage which was marvelous. Sufficiently marvelous that we invited three friends from NYC to join us this time. We previously sailed once on Regent which was but decent and once on Silversea which was slightly better than decent. Windstar ran rings around them on both our sailings aboard Legend and Pride. See our cabin review below, it was very good and comfortable but also most expensive suite available. You get what you pay for. My friends had regular cabins (following luxury marketing rules, these are referred to as suites, haha) which they thought sumptuous, comfortable and well designed. This cruise had half-a-dozen naturalists on board, fully credentialed for all things Alaska including flora, fauna — birds, orcas, whales, otters, seals, sea lions, glaciers, earthquakes, volcanos, weather, cultures, and more. Plus, they led many of the zodiac and other excursions so could narrate in real time. This was a case where having an onboard marina on deck 3 made a qualitative difference and enhanced the cruise for many. Because this ship carries only 212 passengers max, we were small potatoes when it comes to the gargantuan vessels you may be imagining. And that’s exactly how we like it! When it comes to Alaska, we were able to cruise where larger vessels (Regent, Crystal, Disney, Princess, etc.) cannot go — right up lengthy fjords to glacier front (Tracy Arms Fjord and Kenai Fjord). Not to mention some of the sweet smaller villages. On a twelve-day voyage we had only two sea days. Food was very good and better than that. Room service meals very good. Coffee uniformly very good. Cappuccino in the Yacht Club was marvelous. Our “crew” of five were mostly delighted and sometimes wowed. Wines — we eschewed drink package and opted for two bottles of wine at dinner every night: the Sokol pinot noir and a sancerre or pouilly fume. The lectures were relevant, excellent, informative and fun. Great delivery with enthusiasm. As for entertainment, we did not go there, we are classical music sorts. Staff was amazingly kind, efficient and on top of their game. Not a snooty nose to be seen. An occasional incompetent in the dining room but that happens. The Captain stood at top of gangway to greet and farewell passengers when boarding and disembarking. He is quite the gentleman with a lovely British accent. Ship environs are comfortably chic, no godawful “art.” Plenty spacious. Yacht club crowded only on the two glacier days and then, only in the mornings. Furniture very comfortable with nary a bulky vulgar barrel chair to be seen. Fellow passengers trended to the fit middle aged, less-fit middle aged and older, some younger folk, and a few in recovery including me (broken leg/ankle four months gone). Plus my beloved Jim the Demented. Meanwhile Alaska is drop-dead gorgeous and fascinating; just exactly the sort of place that lends itself to cruising. We now are motivated to look into a train tour and a Denali expedition. Can’t say how wonderful was Alaska, disvover it for yourself. No, I do not (yet) work for the Alaska Tourist Board. It was a grand voyage, and lovely to travel with our own comfy crowd who like to scrabble and puzzle. For us, Windstar is perfect, the motor “yachts” that is. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this itinerary as we wanted to return to Alaska, the Bering Sea was enticing and we love sea days. Japan ports Kishiro and Miyako were an added bonus. When we arrived at the port in Seward we were pleasantly surprised to see the ... Read More
We chose this itinerary as we wanted to return to Alaska, the Bering Sea was enticing and we love sea days. Japan ports Kishiro and Miyako were an added bonus. When we arrived at the port in Seward we were pleasantly surprised to see the Legend alongside the enormous NCL ship. It is a beauty with clean clear lines. Granted there are some rust spots, but remember it is a ship in the salty ocean air. The crew worked on it daily. The only port we missed was Sand Pointe due to fog and it being an anchor port. The Captain waited a bit then announced we would just carry on to Dutch Harbor and Unalaska. Perfect for us as we had a private tour booked with Extra Mile Tours in the afternoon and we wanted to explore more of the area if given the chance. The sea days was relaxing (except for the one big storm with 18 foot waves) and we filled the days up with wine tasting, sake tasting and spa treatments. Kishiro was a fun port with the fish market and the Japanese Crane Park. Beautiful birds! Miyako was a pleasant surprise as the locals came out with fun things to do at the dock. The school orchestra played, they had free Ramen Noodles, get your name written in Japanese, and a small market. The area is just beautiful and is recovering nicely from the 2011 Tsunami. Overall I loved this cruise and it was one of our favorites. The Deck 8 Yacht Club morning cappuccino is the best. Yes you do have to pay for extras like wine, alcohol, excursions and spa treatments, but you have to on all other cruise lines too. The excursions were limited and we prebooked our Katmai Bear Viewing privately. My only complaint was the housekeeping staff did not do our room until after their lunch and break. We are early risers and went to the gym or walked deck 8 every morning after breakfast. Was surprised it was not cleaned when we returned. The food was good, we ate at Candles 5 times so the menu got a little boring. Lobster was only on the last night and I was disappointed they did not have crab (since we were on the Bering Sea and the crabbing capital). Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are faithful Windstar clients who have always enjoyed sailing and cruising with Windstar! When we were on Star Legend last summer they announced that the ship would be cruising to Alaska from Vancouver BC. We booked our suite ... Read More
We are faithful Windstar clients who have always enjoyed sailing and cruising with Windstar! When we were on Star Legend last summer they announced that the ship would be cruising to Alaska from Vancouver BC. We booked our suite immediately. Get a balcony for this voyage!!!! Star Legend with its great captain and crew made every journey into the three fjords amazing experiences! There are so many options at every port that you could do this trip more than once and have two completely different great experiences. As usual all of the officers, staff and crew were great! Food and service was exceptional. Guest experience staff led by James and Kristi were the best ever! Theme song for repeat clients of Windstar should be "we are family!" Zodiacs and kayaks made for great viewing of the glaciers! Windstar is our cruise line of choice. When others share they prefer small ships or even large ships we do not argue with them. We just know that Windstar is in a class of its own and we will always have our expectations exceeded by the officers and crew and staff when we choose to sail with Windstar! Approximately 200 passengers with almost 1-1 staff support results in an amazing experience! Cruising the inside passage to Alaska was like being on your own private yacht. We will return!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Star Legend is a small luxury, all suite ship with all the amenities. The service was excellent, and all staff were friendly, and enthusiastically helped in every way possible. Even an entry level suite, cabin 102, was spacious and ... Read More
Star Legend is a small luxury, all suite ship with all the amenities. The service was excellent, and all staff were friendly, and enthusiastically helped in every way possible. Even an entry level suite, cabin 102, was spacious and included a walk in closet, large bathroom, and seating area with sofa, chairs and table. There was a large picture window. Even at the front of the ship, noise and motion were not a problem. Gourmet meals were available in the Amphora Dining Room, or the smaller more casual Verandah dining area which provided views of the spectacular Alaska scenery. Sandwiches, pastries, and beverages were available throughout the day in the top deck Yacht Club. Zodiac excursions, led by experienced and knowledgeable naturalists enabled close up views of South Sawyer Glacier and Tracy Fjord. Naturalists were on board throughout the cruise and available for discussions. The ship also had a casino, library, spa, and 2 bars with entertainment area. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We wanted to cruise Alaska for a long time but the large ships were totally unappealing to us as our preferred cruise line has been Windstar for many years. We had high expectations as Windstar advertised this as more of an "off the ... Read More
We wanted to cruise Alaska for a long time but the large ships were totally unappealing to us as our preferred cruise line has been Windstar for many years. We had high expectations as Windstar advertised this as more of an "off the beaten path" experience with "signature expeditions". We were NOT disappointed! Not only was the expedition staff great with their lectures and knowledge of glaciers, bears, whales, seals, sea lions and everything else that roams Alaska, they were really great fellow travelers who enjoyed the cruise as much as the paying passengers. We had almost perfect weather which was a plus; beautiful sunshine most days and very little rain but cool and refreshing days. We were thrilled with the food and presentation on this sailing. Windstar has really upped the quality and presentation as a result of their James Beard Foundation partnership. Because of the cooler weather they opened more dining venues for both breakfast and lunch which made for nice choices. The new zodiac expeditions and kayaks were a great addition and gave us the ability to get "up close and personal" with the glaciers. Riding on a zodiac while seeing mountain goats as ice floated by from a calving glacier was a total thrill! The shore excursions were mostly exceptional with lots of opportunity for "flightseeing" over glaciers, fjords, etc. For those who were interested, there were lots of cultural opportunities to learn about the native Alaskan tribes and visit their villages. We also did the 5 day land tour of northern Alaska and Denali. It was a first for Windstar in Alaska and could have used a few tweaks here and there but also a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise for the small ship experience. It also called at ports not available with larger ships. It was our first cruise with Windstar. While it would have been interesting to explore Vancouver before the cruise, we scheduled ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the small ship experience. It also called at ports not available with larger ships. It was our first cruise with Windstar. While it would have been interesting to explore Vancouver before the cruise, we scheduled air the same day as embarkation. Embarkation was smooth although delayed due to loading and unloading of supplies and waste.Disembarkation was also slightly delayed, although announcements were clear. The ship was in good condition with maintenance occurring continuously as the cruise proceeded. This was only a problem when painting and varnishing occurred in the vicinity of the public areas, particularly the Yacht Club (the room above the bridge with great views, puzzles and games as well as snacks, sandwiches and barista service), where the smell was unpleasant. We had chosen a lower cost cabin back in February and received an upgrade before the cruise started. The cabin was spacious (compared to our only other experience on a Costa Mediterranea cruise). Fresh fruit, bottled water and chocolates were provided every day (if you had eaten them, otherwise the old ones were left). Cabin service was very good with the stewards calling us by name every day. Announcements were very weak in the cabin until the dial was set on any other position than the one selected by the stewards. The best part of the trip was the "Windstar signature expeditions" departing from the ship's marina. We chose the Zodiac experiences instead of the kayak ones. Misty Fjords, Endicott Arm (Dawes glacier), Kenai Fjords (Aialik glacier). Simon was a great guide on these, pointing out wildlife and natural features. The other excursions were provided by external providers. Highlights were the whale watching at Icy Straight Point and the Mendenhall glacier walk. The cost of the excursions seemed a little pricey, but there was only a little mark-up by Windstar who provided the scheduling and reservations. Dining service started earlier or was extended when excursions required. Dining service was a little hectic due to everybody showing up at once, Service was slow in Amphora because of this, taking up to two hours for a three course meal. We had to go down to the Amphora dining room twice for breakfast due to there being no room at the Veranda because the outside seating was not usable due to the weather. We also had room service for dinner twice which was provided flawlessly (they even returned with the baked alaska dessert on time without our calling again!). Two ports of call had little in the way of things to do on shore, Icy Straight Point and Haines, but top-notch excursions. Juneau and Ketchikan had too many gift shops and jewelry stores but interesting sights could be found away from those. On-board entertainment was slim. There was a musical trio in the bars at night, a crew talent show (hilarious) and a liars club. The port and expedition briefings as well as the expedition re-caps were interesting and useful.Days at sea had more varied talks. We chose to extend our vacation by adding a land tour, through Windstar. This included stops in Talkeetna, and Denali, ending up in Fairbanks. There were no extra cost options as all excursions were included, including many meals. The only disappointment in this vacation was not seeing Orcas at sea or wolves in Denali. All the other wildlife biggies were seen: bears, moose, caribou, whales, seals, otters, bald eagles and various other birds. We saw Denali! One caveat about small ships is that they are not as stable as the megaships. Rough seas on sea days can affect those sensitive to motion sickness. Get your patches before you embark! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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